BELIEF IN GOD IN AN AGE OF SCIENCE by John Polkinghorne

BELIEF IN GOD IN AN AGE OF SCIENCE

KIRKUS REVIEW

 An elegant, brief foray into the intersections of theology and science. While God-and-science appears to be a bandwagon, with a recent spate of books on this topic, few scientists or theologians could address its ramifications as gracefully as Polkinghorne (Reason and Reality, 1991; Beyond Science, 1996). That rare fluidity stems from his mastery of both subjects: a theoretical physicist of some renown, he is also an ordained clergyman and past president of Queens College, Cambridge (England). This new book is based on a series of lectures he delivered at Yale in 1996 (past lecturers include such august thinkers as Paul Tillich, Hans Kung, and Carl Jung). A primary concern for Polkinghorne is finding the points of consonance between science and religion, but he differs from the apologists in that he seeks these conjunctions in methods of inquiry, not empirical results. In other words, his subtlety lies in his contention that religion and science both engage in a quest for truth, and that this truth is likely to be built on developmental consensus in both disciplines (the book's second chapter explores how Christological debates over the person and nature of Jesus evolved through the centuries, much the same way that 20th-century physicists have considered the nature of light). Toward the end of the book, Polkinghorne outlines future strategies for the cross-fertilization of science and religion. He'd like to see more biologists get involved (to this point, the scientists engaged in the discussion have been primarily physicists), and he maintains that theologians shouldn't shy away from contemplating the repercussions of scientific inquiry. This is a slim volume that raises more questions than it answers, but it does so in a manner more intellectually satisfying than a dozen of the ``mind-of-God'' books now on the market. If you read one book on science and religion, this should be it.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-300-07294-5
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Yale Univ.
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1998




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